Ask a Question forum: Corn plant - what have I done?

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Texas
kschweit
Jan 31, 2018 8:42 PM CST
I have had a healthy corn plant for about a year now. I realized I had left it too far from a window for the winter light as it had yellow leaves and wasn't looking great. I moved it closer to a window and the leaves looked more green and perky but then
one day what appeared to be healthy leaves just fell over. The stalk appeared water logged. I didn't think I had been over watering; once every two weeks. Will the rest of my plant survive? What should I do with the stalk that no longer has leaves on it; will it grow new leaves or do I remove it from the pot? Any insight or advice is appreciated!

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Name: greene
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greene
Jan 31, 2018 8:48 PM CST
How cold was the window where you put the plant?
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Texas
kschweit
Jan 31, 2018 8:57 PM CST
It hasn't been that cold... low 40s at night and mid 60s in the day. The plant is also about 4 feet from the window. Its new location is near an overhead vent now which it was not near a vent before.
Name: Bill
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BigBill
Feb 1, 2018 6:19 AM CST
Dracenas take a wide variety of conditions. Down here in Florida, there are numerous varieties that are used as garden accents. They all like light from partial shade to full sun. They do well in temperatures from 30-90's plus.
Lower light seems to produce fuller markings, good light increases the intensity on the leaves. I have one outside my front door that I prune heavily every other year. At every prune site, one to three branches sprout leading to a fuller plant. All watering is done by Mother Nature from the 4 month rainy season to the 8 month dry season. The corn plant deals with everything.
So for you to have killed one, that is difficult but if you give it even watering and good light in a well draining soil, you can succeed.
Once you move it around and around, put it in drafts, out of drafts, in good light and then in dull light, you are asking for trouble.
In my opinion the light was too dim for too long. You can repot it in fresh soil, trim it way back, and it should recover!
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Name: Will Creed
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WillC
Feb 1, 2018 6:20 AM CST
The roots of the shorter cane have rotted and that cane cannot be salvaged. Twist that cane in place until it spins free. Then, pull it up and out so as to not disturb the roots of the other cane.

The problem started when you repotted into a pot that was too large and used a soil that is too heavy. All of that excess heavy soil tends to retain moisture around the roots for a long time and deprive the roots of essential oxygen.

You didn't mention the fungus gnat problem, but I see a yellow sticky trap on the soil. That is a clear indication of contaminated soil that is staying damp too long.

If there were a simple way for you to undo the repotting that you did, I would recommend that. But there isn't. I do suggest that you start by removing all of the soil you added to the top of the original rootball. That will eliminate many of the gnat larvae. It will also allow oxygen to penetrate the root zone more readily.

Going forward, allow the top quarter of the remaining soil to get dry before adding any water. Then, add just enough water so that the top quarter of soil dries out again in about a week. Experiment to find out just what the right amount is. It will be less than you think.

Move it close to a moderately sunny window. Temperature is not an issue as long as you keep, it inside.
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Texas
kschweit
Feb 1, 2018 8:14 PM CST
Thanks for the feedback! I will take the advice and see what happens :)
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Feb 3, 2018 8:29 AM CST
One rotted, the other won't be far behind. Get it out of pot.
Dose pot have drain holes, and a detachable drain pan ? Both, are necessary ! Drain pan needs to be emptied after every watering.
Get rid of soil you used to re pot it in. Check roots for any rot, and remove.
Take fresh soil, and mix it, one to one with perlite. Barely dampen soil mix, and re pot.
Wait at least a week , before watering. Then, only water if it necessary !!!
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Faridat
Feb 4, 2018 12:08 PM CST
Once every two weeks is not overwatered. But had it been exposed to any cold? If so, that is what caused it, especially if it was watered and then exposed to it.
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WillC
Feb 4, 2018 12:18 PM CST
An ailing plant in low light in a large pot may not need water every two weeks especially if the soil is thoroughly saturated when it is watered. It is not a good idea to put a plant like this on a schedule. The moisture content of the soil in the root zone has to be checked in order to determine when to water. The calendar won't tell us that.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
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Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Texas
kschweit
Feb 4, 2018 1:50 PM CST
Thanks for all the good advice. I have removed the short cane and removed the top layers of soil. I did notice that soil below an inch or so was still moist. While the pot does have a drainage hole the drainage pan does not detach.

I didn't think of the pot being too big when I put the plant in there but I can see it now.

The leaves on the other cane appear to be doing well. I haven't repotted yet but may do so later.

I haven't seen any gnats in months, I just hadn't removed the yellow sticky.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Feb 4, 2018 2:00 PM CST
Good that you removed the excess soil from the surface and now have a better idea so too when the soil is dry enough to water. The absence of gnats is also a good sign.

Although it is now in a pot larger than necessary, downsizing it has its own problems, especially potentially damaging fragile roots already under stress. Unless you are experienced, I recommend leaving it as is and adjusting your watering accordingly.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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